Saturday, February 21, 2009

Farm Bulletin: Last Chance to See

After this Sunday, Anthony and Carol Boutard are taking a well-deserved break from their station at the Hillsdale Farmers' Market, but will return on July 5 for their eighth season at the market. In his final bulletin of this season, Anthony ruminates on organic farming, Damson plums and the penurious pleasure to be derived from dried (vs. canned) beans.

We submitted our 2009 Oregon Tilth Certified Organic reapplication last week. Certification demands careful attention to record keeping, including the sources of seeds. We grow 206 different varieties of annual plants, and about 50 varieties of woody crops. Of the 2006 annual plants, 66 are generated on the farm by seed, bulb or tuber saving. The next biggest source is the 39 varieties from Frank and Karen Morton of Wild Garden Seeds down in Philomath. High Mowing Seeds, Seeds of Change and Seeds of Italy are in a tight cluster in the third position. Among the new experiments will be bitter melons, edamame upon Chef Naoko's insistence, and a more determined effort to grow okra successfully. We have located seven varieties of cane sorghum for trial; the plunge into syrup begins. We will also try some Honeycutt Pioneer Cutshort and Blue Greasy Grit beans from Sand Hill Preservation Center. The quest for an ever more tender and flavorful bean never ends.


A native Virginian told us that her mother always had a jar of Damson plum preserves on hand as a cure for hiccups. According to Sha, published accounts of this remedy go back to the early 18th century. The Roanoke (VA) Times gave a good account of support for this remedy in a recent article.

If, between now and July, you are afflicted with hiccups and find yourself short of Damson preserves, or family members are simply testy at the thought of no loganberry preserves for breakfast, immediate relief is available at following locations:
  • Steve's Cheese, 2321 NW Thurman
  • City Market, 735 NW 21st
  • Pastaworks, 3735 SE Hawthorne
  • Foster and Dobbs, 2518 NE 15th at Brazee
  • R. Stuart & Co., 845 NE Fith Street in McMinnville
Dry Beans

In a post at, Jim Dixon [a regular contributor to GSNW and proprietor of RealGoodFood. - KAB] noted that high quality beans are good value when compared with everyday canned beans. We decided to quantify his observation. We soaked and cooked a half pound of Ayers Creek red beans. The drained Ayers Creek red beans weighed 1.22 LB, costing $2.46 per pound. We purchased a 15-oz can of Brand X red kidney beans, conventionally grown, at $1.49. The drained beans weighed 0.44 pounds. The cost of the Brand X canned beans, when drained, comes out to $3.38 per pound. Under this comparison, the Ayers Creek Farm beans are roughly 90¢ a pound (27%) cheaper. Even the more expensive pole varieties, such as the Tarbais, which come in at $3.28 per pound, are still slightly cheaper than the conventional canned beans.

Top photo: Palla Rosso chicory by Karen Morton of Wild Garden Seeds.

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